How to write an outline for an essay
If you take only one piece of advice on how to write an outline for an essay, let it be this. You must always write an outline for an essay before you begin the writing of your essay. It does not matter which type of essay you are writing; every type of essay requires an outline. There are so many benefits from doing this.
- it makes the writing process easier
- it gives you an overview of the project
- it helps keep you on time
- it directs your research
The outline is the equivalent of the drawings created by an architect which are used by a builder. The more detail you can include in your outline, the easier it is to then create the essay. By having the outline provide the structure of your essay, which is the introduction, main paragraphs and the conclusion, you are able to appoint various points of interest and see their importance and their relationship to one another. All of this means that not only will you have control of the writing of your essay, when it comes to the actual writing, the task is much easier. An easier task saves time and effort and reduces stress. This is how to write an outline for an essay.
When you have a good essay outline in front of you, then you have an overview of the project. Your essay is not a collection of jumbled thoughts bouncing around inside your brain. It is a sequence of notes which you will use to create the written masterpiece. You don't forget things. The ideas you have collected over time are listed on your project. They are there waiting to be developed as points to be made in your essay. This overview easily and quickly refreshes the entire project simply by glancing at its contents.
Every student knows the importance of a deadline. Every student knows that an essay has to be in by a set date. If you hand in work after the deadline you run the risk of it not being accepted at all or having your mark downgraded because of your lack of punctuality. Having an outline for your essay makes it so much easier for you to keep to a schedule. You can mark on your outline the date or dates by which you need to finish a certain aspect of your essay. At a glance you can see if you are keeping to the timetable.
If you are serious about learning how to write an outline for an essay, you will know that research is a vital part of your preparation. By having a detailed outline, you are able to direct your research. Your outline lists the main points you intend to make in your essay. These are the prompts which help direct you to various resources, various relevant resources for your research. You need information to develop your essay and finding that information through research is a time-consuming activity. By using your outline as a guide, you save time and get to the relevant research material effectively.
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What does it look like?
Your essay outline varies according to the way you want to work. Many students prefer a written outline although growing numbers are using a digital device. ‘Less is more’ is a good motto for an essay outline. Yes, it needs detail but no, it doesn’t need to go on and on. If you can create your outline on a single page, fine. Have your main headings and the other points you wish to make under each heading. Put the points in order of importance with the most important point first. By leaving space on the page of your outline you can add new ideas if and when they pop into your brain.